With the MLS passing the midway point of the season, fans are starting to look towards the future. With Atlanta United FC already slated to join MLS during the next season, they will be joined by Minnesota FC.
With the current 20 teams being split evenly into the Eastern and Western Conference, look for Atlanta to become a part of the Eastern Conference while Minnesota will become a part of the Western Conference when the season kicks off in 2017. With two new squads set to compete next season, and the opportunity to make future bets at online sportsbooks, let’s take a closer look at both teams, with some analysis as well.
- Atlanta United FC
While the official announcement was made in April, 2014, MLS officials and the team management led by Arthur Blank (current owner of the NFL Atlanta Falcons) chose to wait for a new venue was fully functional before they commenced play. The new stadium will be shared with the Falcons, and is a technical marvel. When the Falcons play, the stadium will have a capacity of 71,000 fans. But in order to meet the requirements of a soccer-specific facility, the stadium will contract to hold a capacity of 29,322 fans. Weather should not pose an issue, since the roof is fully retractable. While they have yet to hire a manager, Atlanta has already tapped former U.S. international Carlos Bocanegra as their technical director. With an academy system already in place, Atlanta would appear to be well-positioned to compete in MLS in 2017.
- Minnesota FCIn 2009, the Minnesota Thunder were on the verge of financial collapse after the owner at the time, Dean Johnson, abandoned the club with an empty bank account. The few remaining employees fronted the travel costs from their personal credit cards in order to keep the team afloat. Fast forward to 2017, and Minnesota will be joining the ranks of 21 other teams in MLS after a 40-year state history. With the team currently playing in the NASL under the name Minnesota United FC, they will be playing in the Western Conference of MLS next season. While they do not yet have a soccer-specific stadium at their disposal, they have submitted plans to the St. Paul City Council for a $150 million soccer-specific stadium in St. Paul and are awaiting approval. With principal owner Bill McGuire the former CEO of UnitedHealth Group providing financial resources and solid management techniques, this team can focus on exceling on the pitch. There will be work to be done from management to field a quality team next season. But in the eyes of their supporter group, the Dark Clouds, after a 40-year wait, they’re more than ready for the 2017 season to commence. It’s hard to predict how the addition of the expansion teams will impact MLS play, as far as the finish shakes out. But it’s clear that adding the two teams will be a solid financial boost, and that the MLS is looking to maximize revenue and deliver high-qualtiy football highlights to a a passionate fan base.
- Summary:It’s hard to predict how the addition of the expansion teams will impact MLS play, as far as the finish shakes out. But it’s clear that adding the two teams will be a solid financial boost, and that the MLS is looking to maximize revenue and deliver high-qualtiy football highlights to a a passionate fan base.